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SPOILER WARNING: Do not read further if you do not want to know if two years worth of No Way Home rumors are true. Like, seriously, stop. Do something else. Read a short story or something. Still here? Sigh, okay... but ya been warned.
Yes, the internet's worst kept secret is true — try not to faint.
Spider-Man: No Way Home reaches back into previous Spider-Man films and recruits a few Peter Parkers to help Tom Holland out. For nearly two years, fans have obsessed over this reunion across the multiverse, and leaked behind-the-scenes pics that confirmed it, as Marvel brass played coy or actors like Andrew Garfield outright lied about whether or not he would join Sam Rami's Spider-Man, Tobey Maguire, alongside Tom Holland for this third MCU solo Spidey film. Now, movie and MCU history has been made and here is how it all goes down.
Following events in the first act of No Way Home, where Peter Parker asks Doctor Strange to unleash a spell that will erase the memory that he is Spider-Man from certain people's minds, that magical plan goes sideways and villains from other Spider-Man movies slowly intersect with the MCU's timeline. This epic complication — headlined by baddies like Alfred Molina's Doc Ock, Willem DeFoe's Harry Osborne, Jamie Foxx's Electro, and Thomas Hayden Church's Sandman — eventually yields a major character death in the MCU: Aunt May (Marisa Tomei).
This death marks the low point of No Way Home's second act. And while Peter mourns this loss in Ned (Jacob Batalon)'s living room, something kinda cool and very applause-worthy happens. Ned, who is in possession of Doctor Strange's fancy ring that allows him to open portals, can now also open portals... ish. Because movies. And after a discussion that he and MJ (Zendaya) have about wishing they could find or see their Peter Parker, Ned summons another: Andrew Garfield's. The Amazing Spider-Man himself, in his Spidey suit, steps out of an alley somewhere and into Ned's living room. Followed soon by another Peter Parker — Tobey Maguire, who is in street clothes. (Which Garfield's Peter Parker "3" later refers to as looking like a "youth pastor.")
After these two Peters are reunited with Holland's for some rooftop therapy sessions, to help Peter process the urge to kill the person responsible for killing May, the triple-threat of Spideys goes to work in a school lab to find ways to kick, er, "cure some ass" in regards to helping the villains get back to their original realties. From here, the third act reaches ZOMG-level proportions with a climactic action set piece set on and around a Statue of Liberty undergoing some Captain America shield-themed renovations (the narrative motivations for which are shockingly unclear, given the creatives behind this film). Tom Holland's Spider-Man works with his alternate counterparts to defeat the villains by "saving" them. And yes, the quips and banter flies almost as much as the webbing. One of the more effective emotional beats during this nostalgic, CG-powered battle happens when Garfield's Peter Parker gets a mini-redemption arc when he... on second thought, we'll save that spoiler for the theater. A
Despite the somewhat low-key way the overhyped No Way Home brings multiple Spider-Men into the fold, the end result, visually, is nothing short of one of the best, must-see-with-an-opening-night-crowd in Marvel movie history. Their inclusion services the MCU's welcomed take on the iconic hero while also honoring the previous movie iterations that came before, especially in Garfield's case as his Amazing Spider-Man series was swiftly abandoned after the poor reception of 2014's Amazing Spider-Man 2.
To see every cinematic incarnation of live-action Spider-Men share the screen is a jolt of joy, proving that Marvel Studios continues to be the go-to place for one of the best times ever at the movies.
Spider-Man: No Way Home is in theaters now.